Can you already smell the scent of Christmas in Austria? “Ohhhhhh yes,“ smiles Girly Ghost, the daughter of Mama Ghost and Papa Ghost. She will tell us all about her passion for baking cookies and biscuits in the run-up to Christmas at the Schlosshotel Fiss.
Early in the morning the unmistakable scent of freshly baked cookies wakes me from my slumber and brings a smile to my face. Today is going to be a good day! I quickly clean my teeth, glance over towards my brother, who is deep asleep, and then glide off to find out where the delicious aroma is coming from.
© Mike Rabensteiner
Following my nose, I descend the stairs, fly over the empty bar, spin a quick pirouette around the fountain in the foyer and then whizz through the restaurant and into the kitchen with a cry of joy. In fact, I am in such a hurry that I almost bump into the hotel’s new head chef, Mathias Seidel. I like Mathias – he always has really good music playing in the kitchen.
But where are the cookies?
HERE! Five chefs are hard at work rolling out the dough into thin sausages, then cutting them up and forming them into a U shape before putting them on a baking tray. MMMMMMhhhhhhh… I love Vanillekipferl! They are my favourite cookies. Let’s get baking!
I plunge my hands into the vanilla sugar, then grab a handful of flour and sprinkle it over the head of a handsome chef. Here and there I pinch a cookie from one of the tins. Delicious! However, soon I have eaten a few too many and have to head back to bed to sleep off my stomach ache!
Here is my favourite recipe for this Austrian winter classic:
- 210g butter
- 250g flour
- 100g grated almonds
- 70g icing sugar
- 1 package vanilla sugar
- Mix all the ingredients together until they form a smooth dough. Wrap this dough in clingfilm and leave it in the fridge for two hours.
- Pre-heat the oven to 170°C.
- Cut the dough into equal pieces and then use a rolling pin to make sausages which are about 1.5 cm thick. Cut the sausages into pieces of about 5cm and then bend them into a U shape.
- Put them on a baking tray covered with greaseproof paper and place into the oven for about 15 minutes.
- Mix the vanilla sugar with the icing sugar and then sprinkle the mixture over the cookies.
- There’s no need to add an egg. By leaving out the egg, the cookies become really soft and melt in your mouth.
- Why almonds instead of nuts? The almonds give the cookies a lighter colour, but they also make them a little drier. If you want really moist Vanillekipferl then it is best to use walnuts.
Eating 50 Vanillekipferl cookies one after the other gives you a stomach ache!